Israel Defense Forces fighter jets struck Hamas military sites in the Gaza Strip overnight in response to fires in southern Israel ignited by incendiary balloons launched earlier in the day.
The IDF said the facilities it targeted were used for terror activities and that it holds Hamas responsible for everything that happens in the Gaza Strip. There were no reports of casualties.
“The IDF is prepared for any scenario, including a resumption of hostilities, in the face of continuing terror activities from the Gaza Strip,” the IDF said in a statement.
And on Wednesday, the IDF said it thwarted an attempted combined ramming and stabbing attack in the West Bank several miles from Jerusalem’s Old City. The assailant was “neutralized.”
Hamas had called for a “Day of Rage” and threatened to resume the recent war against Israel if the flag parade through the Old City of Jerusalem took place.
The Flag Parade takes place on Jerusalem Day every year, retracing the paratroopers’ path from the 1967 Six-Day War. It was interrupted this year on May 10, when Hamas launched rockets at Jerusalem in what became the opening volley of the recent 11-Day war between Israel and terror groups in Gaza.
The parade route was altered to start at the Damascus Gate but it proceeded on the outside of the Walls and entered through the Jaffa Gate on the way to the Western Wall.
The largely peaceful march included shots of "the People of Israel live". But was also marred by shouts of "Death to Arabs" from the Israeli side. Israel's new Foreign Minister Yair Lapid condemned those comments saying, those who shouted the slogans were "a disgrace to the Israeli people."
The IDF was on high alert, deploying Iron Dome anti-missile systems and police had 2,000 police officers patrolled in Jerusalem watching for trouble during the march. During Tuesday evening, Israel’s Ben Gurion international airport diverted flights towards the north to keep aircraft out of the path of potential Hamas rocket fire. Hamas launched more than 4,000 rockets into Israel last month.
Hamas boasted that was a victory.
“The courageous stances of the Palestinian resistance and its decisions that forced the Israeli occupation to change the route of the so-called march of flags away from the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque, to change the route of civilian flights and to bolster the deployment of Iron Dome systems, confirm the achievement of the deterrence equation it imposed,” Hamas said in a statement. They vowed to continue protecting Palestinians.
In the end, Hamas didn’t fire rockets, but the incendiary balloons started more than 25 fires in the fields around the Gaza Strip. Palestinians also clashed with Israeli troops along the border.
About 25 people were injured in clashes in eastern Jerusalem, most lightly, and at least 17 arrested. Some clashes were reported in the West Bank but had mostly ended by Tuesday evening, reports said.
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